Joy Comes in the Morning| By Gabby Jones

Feeling stuck in life is not the easiest place to be. You begin questioning yourself and questioning where God wants you, but you cannot seem to put two and two together. Do not be discouraged in this season, but let God continue to shape what He has for you. God does not have you between a rock and a hard place. He is preparing you for this next season coming up.

After graduating college in 2017, God was throwing open door after open door for me, and I was having a great time walking through each of them. At the time, my friend and mentor Amber seemed to be clear from cancer, a guy was pursuing me, and I had some amazing friends. However, it all came to a crash by the end of the year. My beautiful Amber passed away from breast cancer, the guy decided not to continue his pursuit, and I lost a great friendship to confusing and unfortunate circumstances. Life did not pause for me, but I did stop. I stopped embracing everything God had for me.

For a year after that, I sank low in depression and just wanted the world to stop so I could mourn the many losses I had in such a short amount of time. God was still beside me, but I could not fathom how He would let so many things fall apart after He opened so many doors beforehand. In those moments, I just wanted to close those doors and stay in my bed forever. I had enough energy each day to get out of bed, go to work, and come home to lay in bed again. I did not make any effort to ask God to remove me from depression, but my spirit was crying out. 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19 (NIV)

In December of 2018, God asked me what my heart wanted, and He broke through my depression and tears and made my heart beat again. I felt alive, and I felt like I could finally breathe. After God broke depression off of my life, I was ready to take on the world, but that did not happen. Months passed by, and I began to realize how much I was not doing with my life. My personality had gone from extrovert to barely leaving the house, I stopped serving in the many areas I was in, and my friend circle was smaller than it had ever been. I was no longer who I was.

When these truths hit me, I began crying out to God. I wanted to feel the Joy of the Lord again. I wanted to be the Gabby I was before tragedy overtook my heart, but that is not what God has planned for me. God has a new and fresh perspective for me, and He does not need the old Gabby to fulfill it. He needs who I am now. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

I was still wrestling with feeling stuck, up until a few weeks ago when I realized something; I was the reason I felt grey! I had begun to take a step back from God, and all the while, I was questioning why He was not there! I was feeling the pressure of depression because I decided to not seek God for His joy. God revealed this to me, and I began worshipping who He was and what He had done for me.  I felt his joy rain down on my life again. 

If you are feeling stuck in this season, I encourage you to hold on and continue praying that God will reveal His will to you. This is not an easy season, but God promised to be there with you no matter what. Keep seeking the face of God as He brings you out of this season into something new. Keep seeking His joy in your sadness, His peace in your chaos, and His love in your loneliness.

“Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord .” Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

I Refuse: When Life Tries To Steal Your Joy| By Tori Savoy

joy column

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace;” Isaiah 55:12

Joy. It is a feeling that seems so simple, yet the pressures of life somehow seem to complicate it.

How many times have you begun a day with the intention of having a joyful attitude? But then, you get stuck in traffic, arrive late at work, deal with an angry customer, spill food on your brand new blouse, forget an appointment you have, and anything else to spoil your day. Now joy is the last word in your vocabulary, and your attitude is stuck sour.

When me and my husband were dating, I went through a rough time in my life. Being happy did not come easy with the hussle and bussle of college, a full-time job, and the dwindling relationships I was dealing with. However, one day he said something that stuck with me.

“God has given you joy. Refuse to let the Devil take it.”

In that moment, I realized that joy is gift. And just like Christmas or birthday gifts, this gift is free regardless of where my life is at the time.

Our joy should not be dependent upon our surroundings because our source of joy is God, not the world and certainly not the Devil. However, the Devil will try to use the things of this world to steal this great gift we have been given. He knows that nothing can stand in our way if we learn to have joy in tribulation.

God’s word says to “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4 ESV).

It does not say rejoice when life is splendid. It says to rejoice ALWAYS. Even when it seems as if life is completely against you.

There’s a song we use to sing at my church until we could not sing anymore. The lyrics state “I refuse, I won’t let nobody steal my joy!”

So I challenge you. Don’t let anybody or any circumstance steal the joy that Jesus has given to you as a free gift. You wouldn’t take your most treasured Christmas gift and throw it in the trash just because you had a string of bad “gifts”. So why throw away the precious gift of joy God has for you? Remember, although sorrow lasts for the night, joy comes in the morning.